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Skype, the latest addition to the Microsoft family and known for allowing users to make videos, chat, send instant messages, and to make voice calls to landlines and mobile phones over the Internet, has become a valuable tool for teachers in the classroom. Skype in the classroom is a free global community that allows teachers to collaborate on classroom projects, share resources, and communicate with one another. Students and teachers are able to discover new cultures and connect with other classes around the world without leaving the classroom. Here are ten ways in which teachers have utilized Skype to promote community.
1. Inclusion — helping a classmate join the classroom from home. This blog post explains how a 4th grade class used Skype to help a classmate with leukemia become a part of the classroom from her home.
2. Connect special needs students. Students who may have to be out of the classroom due to special needs or Individualized education plan requirements don’t have to miss any special events in the classroom with Skype.
3. Using Skype in the languages classroom. Find out how this teacher uses Skype to help her students study foreign languages from native speakers.
4. Foreign culture lessons. Skype allows students to see firsthand the varied homes, schools, clothing, weather, and more that people around the world experience. If a festival takes place, Skype can bring it to your classroom too!
5. Connect with families from around the world. Form friendships that can easily bridge distance gaps with Skype.
6. Skype Calls for e-Twinning in L2. Find out how this teacher brought two classes together that had been Twittering all semester when they finally got to meet “face-to-face” with Skype.
7. Best Day Ever! This teacher describes three Skype calls her class had in one day. The most exciting call being with a class in a different time zone with whom her students had been collaborating on a project through Google docs. With Skype, the students got to work at the same time and actually see each other, too!
8. Present a performance. Whether your class puts on a play, demonstrates a science experiment, or presents the results of a class project, you can share the fruits of their work with other classes, parents, or other interested people.
9. Share field trips with others. If your class goes on a field trip, see how you can connect with parents or other classes to share your student’s experience.
10. Skyping in Mike Artell- Illustrator & Author. This inspirational lesson has an illustrator working directly with 6th graders to work on the art of illustrating and story creation.
These are 10 of 50 ideas listed in Teacher Degree’s 50 Awesome Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom.